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Somewhere, an Entomologist Is Crying

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"NOT THE BEES. Also, Neal Adams? Has never seen what a bee looks like. It’s like someone just described the idea of a bee to him in really abstract terms and he took his best shot."
Laura Hudson, "The Complete and Utter Insanity of Batman Odyssey"

Related to Somewhere, an Ornithologist Is Crying and Artistic License – Paleontology, this trope covers grievous errors concerning insects and arachnids (spiders, scorpions, mites, etc.).


One common example is humans imposing inappropriate gender roles on insects. Often, the colonies of eusocial hymenopteran insects (bees, wasps, and ants) are depicted in cartoons as having male workers, whereas in Real Life, all the workers are female in almost all species (there are a few ant species with males that assist the female workers, but they are a very small minority of species). The "no male workers" rule applies only to eusocial insects in the order Hymenoptera, however. Termites are eusocial and they have both male and female workers. Another example is the appearance of a blood-sucking male mosquito. Only female mosquitoes suck blood (this doesn't apply to other types of bloodsucking flies, however).

Then, there is the matter of spiders being able to hiss. With some species, being able to hiss is Truth in Television, with some tarantulas (like the barking spider). There are also varieties trapdoor spiders that hiss (you can watch this one do it) but not all.


Perhaps the most egregious example, though, is drawing insects with four legs instead of the correct six. This is kindergarten science, people! Kindergarten!

Another example is that, because of Small Taxonomy Pools and the Rule of Scary, a big arachnid that's not very dangerous in real life (such as a tarantula or an emperor scorpion) will be treated as if it is highly dangerous, making it a rough equivalent of the Terrifying Pet Store Rat. Tarantulas, and the biggest species of scorpions, mainly have venoms that will have little effect on something as big as a human. The most venomous spiders and scorpions are typically quite small. The big ones are chosen because the little ones won't show up on a movie screen and because if an animal with weak venom did end up biting anyone on the cast or crew, it would be less of a problem than if an animal with strong venom bit them.


There's also the size issue. As in you can't make a functioning invertebrate that is big enough for a human to ride upon/be eaten by/etc., but that never stopped anyone.

Subtrope of Artistic License – Biology. Supertrope of Insect Gender-Bender, Four-Legged Insect, and Stock Beehive. See also Funny Animal Anatomy.


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    List of common errors 
  • Insects, arachnids, crustaceans and myriapods all do not have jaws that open and close like a vertebrate's, and they do not have teeth or tongues like we do, though stylization of cartoon insect mouths to a jagged beak can be partly forgiven due to the labrum and paired maxillae sort of resembling one (more info here). Even depictions with proper mouthparts often get their appearance wrong, though. To list just two examples: spider fangs always point downwards, not inwards towards each other like insect mandibles, and aren't used to suck the juices from prey (they have a tiny mouth-hole which is what regurgitates enzymes and does the sucking afterwards); and while a mosquito's proboscis is syringe-shaped (though partially covered by a sheathe), it's certainly not positioned anywhere near where the nose would be on a vertebrate.
  • An arachnid's limbs are attached to the first of their two body segments (the prosoma) and the insect's the second of their three (the thorax). They are not proportioned or configured like anything remotely resembling a human or a dog. Additionally, insects and arachnids are almost always portrayed as having legs that taper to a point. In reality their legs always end in a tarsus (equivalent to the toes on vertebrates) which usually sports two claws; it's just that the tarsi are so tiny in many cases that it's hard to see them with the naked eye. The only arthropods that have pointed tips to the legs in real life are crustaceans.
  • What most people refer to as a "wild" beehive is actually a mix between an antique bee skep and a hornet's nest. Actual wild beehives look like this or this. See Stock Beehive for more on the subject.
    • Also, there's the common mistake of calling wasps "bees", or mistaking hornets for other kinds of wasps. Referring to wasps as bees would be like calling every primate a "chimpanzee" - phylogenetically, all bees are wasps, not the other way around. (And so are ants - biology is very confusing.) Hornets, meanwhile, are also a specific type of wasp, but are distinguished from other vespine wasps by the relatively large top margin of the head and by the rounded segment of the abdomen just behind the waist.
    • Not to mention depicting all wasps and hornets as honey-makers. Bees make honey because they gather pollen from flowers, and while wasps and hornets have diets that can vary from nectar-feeding to omnivorous to outright predatory, they generally do not produce honey. (That said, some species of wasps and hornets do make honey, but it is inedible.)
  • Being arachnids, scorpions have eight legs (the pincers are pedipalps, which are closer to mouthparts than anything), but good luck finding one in TVland with the right number of legs. Made all the more grating because a simple Google search would clear up this misunderstanding immediately.
  • An appalling number of films, stories, and Urban Legends attribute a parasitoid reproductive strategy — i.e. Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong — to arthropods that don't do any such thing, purely for Body Horror's sake. In reality, only some species of insects (mainly wasps and flies) breed that way, but in fiction it's often associated with beetles or spiders (the latter of which actually have the egg-laying hole near the front of the abdomen, and wrap their eggs in a ball of silk for protection, being unable to implant their eggs inside anything).
  • Very often in fiction when a cockroach is needed a Madagascar hissing cockroach is used as a substitute, as they are larger than the local roaches and fairly placid. As the name suggests, they can only be found in the wild in Madagascar. This isn't limited to roaches, either: every scuttling insect that's not an ant may be played by a "hisser" in a pinch. Likewise, maggots, caterpillars, and earthworms (which aren't even arthropods) are commonly played by mealworms, which are beetle larvae cheaply available at any pet store.
  • Pretty much everyone, in fiction and out of it, refers to every insect (and arthropods in general) at some point or another as a bug. In entomology, a bug only refers to the order Hemiptera, aka "true bugs", which contains insects like aphids and cicadas. The common identifier of a "true bug" is a rigid proboscis for feeding.
  • Praying mantises will usually be drawn having their arms ending at the tibia, lacking the tarsus at the end which is used for walking. The popularly cited "fact" that they eat their mates is also false, at least in the wild - the recorded cases of such have almost always happened in captivity, complete with confined spaces and artificial conditions.
  • Every single spider in fiction will be associated with web-making and silk production. Not all spiders produce webs to hunt, with some preferring to stalk or chase after prey, and even those that do exhibit more variety in web-shapes than the net-like orb-weaver-style net most often seen in fiction, with some like those of the notorious black widow spider looking more like tangles of silken threads without a distinct pattern. A few spiders even hunt from burrows lined with silk that acts as tripwires, but they're Seldom-Seen Species anyway.
  • Insects and arachnids are hardly ever portrayed having the correct number of eyes, usually having the standard two. Most insects have five eyes (albeit the two main ones are usually much more noticeable), while arachnids usually have eight eyes.
  • Bees are invariably portrayed as repeatedly stinging. Worker honeybees have barbed stingers, so if they sting once their stinger will get stuck and get ripped off as the bee frees itself, which will resulting in the bee's death.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Naruto:
    • A filler arc brings us "bees" that are very obviously hornets (although this is a translation error since the word 'hachi' can refer to either bees or wasps), a 12-foot beetle with a trunk (it trumpets like an elephant, too) and cockroaches which don't look or move like cockroaches.
    • Pain's "centipede" summon has what's a snake head with fangs tacked onto the sides.
  • Digimon with insect attributes usually have the right number of limbs (though oddly, they are often bipedal when not flying), but they also have vertebrate jaws, are definitely not covered in real chitin, and can grow to preposterous sizes. Justified in-universe as being the result of how data (and therefore the laws of physics) work in the Digital World, but it gets egregious when they enter the real world in any particular series. Rule of Cool is very much invoked.
  • The manga Arachnid greatly exaggerates insect qualities for the sake of justifying the superpowers of the assassins. And unlike how all the enemies are based on a specific species, Alice jumps all over the place when analogies are made. One chapter she's an Araenid, the next she's a Salticid.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Sabagebu!, where the Survival Club's adviser Ena Sakura cracks open a hornet's nest thinking there'd be honey inside, which The Narrator outright points out hornets do not produce honey as they are carnivorous.

    Comic Books 
  • In-story example: Spider-Man is always being called an "insect" by his foes. He always corrects them.
    • For that matter, spiders don't have most of the traits that Spiderman has. They're not particularly strong for their size, they're not particularly agile and certainly don't have a quasi-mystical spider-sense. What they do have are webs, venom and being extremely hardy and Spiderman only has 1 of those naturally.
  • Many comics, most notably, Grendel, like to show shots of a Black Widow in the center of its orb web looking sinister... The Black Widow Spider is a cobweb weaver.
  • In one arc of Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin adds an earthworm to his insect collection because "worms are bugs". Earthworms are from a separate phylum (Annelida) than insects (Arthropoda). Entomologists may be spared some weeping by the fact that Calvin may not actually think worms are bugs; he's just desperate to fill out his collection with ANYTHING (he has only two actual insects; other items include the worm, a smashed spider, and "a piece of lint that looks like a bug") before class starts. At least it's better than in a later arc where he thinks bats are bugs (in this one Hobbes tries to point out Calvin's error early on, and as soon as Calvin starts reading his report in class the entire class yells in unison "Bats aren't bugs!").
    • Justified in both cases. Calvin is six years old and, while he is certainly intelligent, he doesn't pay attention in class unless it involves dinosaurs. It's not surprising that his understanding of entomology would be a mite unreliable.

    Films — Animated 
  • Bee Movie has male worker bees and a blood-sucking male mosquito named Mooseblood. The insects have four legs. The bees also have parents. This is however called out in the court scene to invoke getting stung by the leads best friend to win over the court. Said bee is male and survives by getting a transplant.
  • A Bug's Life featured ants being bullied by grasshoppers. Real Life ants are extremely aggressive in defending their nests, and any grasshopper dumb enough to hang around an anthill would get swarmed, dismembered and eaten. And the ants had four legs, while oddly enough the grasshoppers had the accurate six.
  • Antz has male worker and soldier ants.
  • Averted in Winnie the Pooh where we actually get to see Pooh being stuck inside what appears to be the only accurate depiction of a wild beehive (a wall of honeycombs dangling over a pool of honey inside a hollow tree trunk) at the end of The Honey Tree. Played straight in later stories, however, where all of the bees are now shown to be living in hornet nests.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull averts and plays this straight. When Mutt Williams is stung by a slightly oversized emperor scorpion, this conversation ensues:
    Mutt: I just got stung by one of those scorpions back there!
    Indie: How big was it?
    Mutt: Huge!
    Indie: Great.
    Mutt: What?!
    Indie: When it comes to scorpions, the bigger the better. A small one bites you, don't keep it to yourself.
    • Of course, then the problem is that the writers and characters assume it's the bite of a scorpion you have to watch out for.
    • Later, the characters are attacked by a massive swarm of ants. Indy calls them 'Siafu'; which is a native name for Driver ants, which only live in Africa. The story is set in South America, which does have terrifying carnivorous ants, but these are members of a different subfamily of ants. Possibly justified, as Indy could have encountered African siafu before and just called the New World equivalents by the first name that popped into his head.
    • Also, the ants are shown dragging people into their nests and forming a biological ladder out of ants just to get to a character hanging from a tree.
      • Driver ants actually do form structures out of worker ants (like bridges or the bivouac, for instance). They just can't do it quite that fast, or detect a prey item from that far away. Dragging the Giant Mook back to the nest is pure Hollywood, but using the real driver ant method (slicing off pieces of flesh and carrying those back to the nest) would have made it rather difficult to avoid an R rating.
      • The Brazilian translation fixed the name for an actual Amazon ant — instead of "Siafu", "Saúva" - but raised the problem of it being a leafcutter, not carnivorous like an army ant.
  • Mimic makes this a Zigzagging Trope. On the one hand, they correctly note that the lack of lungs limits insect size (the insect oxygenation system was better suited to the O2-rich Carboniferous, which is why bugs got so much bigger back then). On the other hand, they fail to note that the exoskeleton is the other limiter on insect size. But then they correctly state that social insects use pheromones to identify each other...and then later make the mistake of the Judas Breed colony having no queen, but they do at least show them having a fertile male (termites also have a "king", and the Judas is part termite).
  • Eight Legged Freaks: Spiders don't talk. There are a number of other aspects of the eponymous mutants that don't exactly reflect real life spiders (multiple species working together, hissing at prey, practicing kung fu), but the whole verbal expression part kind of overshadows them and the fact the movie itself is played mainly for the humor.
  • Surprisingly averted in the remake The Fly (1986) involving a mutant Jeff Goldblum/fly hybrid. Like a fly he can scale walls with his hairy sticky feet and must eat his food in liquid form (as flies cannot chew) by vomiting on it. In David Cronenberg's commentary, he says he was aware of the fallacies of the original movie (such as a fly's eye view being depicted as a kaleidoscope) even as a junior entomologist watching it in 1958.
  • Salt has "milking" a spider done wrong.
  • My Girl apparently featured honeybees living inside what appears to be a hornet's nest.
  • The Mummy has huge swarms of flesh-eating scarab beetles. Real scarab beetles eat dung. They're also not so big that you have to shoot them or use a flamethrower on them. According to the DVD Commentary, director Stephen Sommers heard that long ago, some people thought that flesh-eating scarabs existed, and thought it was a cool idea for the film, so more of a Genre Throwback idea than anything else.
  • Dr. No did it twice with spiders. First, Dr. No's dragon tried to kill James Bond by putting a very large tarantula in his bed while he slept. Even if it bit him (it didn't), it would've just hurt a lot. Later, Honey Ryder tells Bond that she killed her landlord after he raped her by putting a female black widow on his bed, and that it took the guy a week to die. She got very lucky: contrary to urban legend, black widow bites are rarely fatal to humans (they do hurt like hell, though, and can make humans very sick).
  • Kingdom of the Spiders: A swarm of super-aggressive tarantulas with extra-potent venom is blamed on... The spiders' food supply being eliminated by human encroachment. So, the lack of food made the spiders multiply explosively, change their behavioral patterns (attacking humans and livestock, encasing prey in webbing) and gave them super-potent venom? Not even a mutation by toxic waste or nuclear testing handwave.
  • Jurassic Park: The mosquito in amber from which the dinosaur DNA is allegedly extracted is not only a member of a species that eats only nectar (and thus wouldn't have any dinosaur blood in it), but the individual is male (and thus wouldn't have any dinosaur blood in it anyway).
  • The 2005 TV movie Mansquito, alternatively called Mosquito Man. Just the titles alone are enough to bring an entomologist to tears. Where to begin? The monster in the movie is a mutant hybrid between a mosquito and a human, a la The Fly (1986). The human in question is male, yet as Mansquito, he goes around killing people and drinking their blood. What makes it worse is that the movie actually does include a female human/mosquito hybrid, but she's mostly harmless and is also the protagonist, even if she does crave blood as well. To add insult to injury, Mansquito begins stalking her so they can mate and start a species of freakish humansquitoes. Mind you, the female is a scientist and the male is a convict she was experimenting on. Apparently, it was too hard to swap the genders and have a male protagonist who only feeds on fruits and veggies, since, as we all know, it's impossible for a female to stalk a male so she mate with him against his will.

  • Averted in The Berenstain Bears, where wild beehives are correctly portrayed as walls of honeycomb inside hollow trees.
  • The giant bugs in Grasshopper Jungle are similar to praying mantises, and they are described as being very fast and strong. In reality, the exoskeleton should have made heavy and slow, and the giant bugs shouldn't have been capable of surviving, since a bug's breathing mechanism only works because they're small.
    • There's also the case of how these creatures could bring The End of the World as We Know It, since the American continent is essentially a giant island, and praying mantises are notoriously bad fliers and swimmers (they can infect human to carry their eggs, but the events of the novel take place in a scarcely populated, almost desert town), so this is likely a case of Unreliable Narrator.
  • The bug-like aliens from Ender's Game and it's sequels are a nice subversion, at least in most regards. Their societies are very female oriented, including by using female pronouns to refer to to a multi-gendered group (like humans use the male ones). They also evolved an internal skeleton, which allowed them to grow much larger.
  • The Artemis Fowl series features a spider that is sometimes fed to people so that it will kill them from the inside out, but can be killed with coffee because the caffeine drives them into heart attacks. Invertebrates are actually much less affected by caffeine than mammals are: their circulatory systems are very different.
  • In The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School, protagonist Amy is a trainee superhero with a moth motif, under the name Kentish Glory. In the course of the book, she gets discouraged about the results of being for justice and fair play in an unjust and unfair world, and tries reinventing herself as a grim avenger called Death's-head Hawk, with an outfit that's all black except for the death's-head emblem. Actual death's-head hawk moths, as seen for instance on the poster for The Silence of the Lambs, have a fairly bright brown and yellow coloration. What makes this interesting is that Amy is an entomologist herself, and has been established as being picky about the accuracy of the color schemes of herself and her Moth Club teammates, so this may be deliberate on the part of the author to show that she's not thinking straight. (It may also be significant that an accurate brown-and-yellow Death's-head Hawk costume wouldn't look a great deal different from her usual — yellow and brown — Kentish Glory costume.) Alternately, the author may have confused the death's head hawk moth with the peppered moth: a species famous for having evolved darker pigmentation during the Industrial Revolution for camouflage against soot-stained tree bark, then re-evolved paler colors once anti-pollution laws - not yet introduced in Amy's school days - cleaned up the air and tree trunks.
  • In Reaper Man, a newly-emerged mayfly converses with a several-hours-senior mayfly about mortality. It's depicted as a very young insect seeking guidance from a very old one, as per the accelerated time frame of flies that are born, grow old, and die in less than a day. But actual mayflies have multi-year lifespans: they just spend the vast majority of their lives as water-dwelling, wingless nymphs. It'd be more biologically-accurate (albeit less symbolic) to portray them as deathbed advice from a dying elder to a not-yet-decrepit one.
  • In Animorphs #9: The Secret, the team morphs into termites as part of an infiltration of a Yeerk facility and are then dominated by the telepathic voice of the termite queen. Cassie has to kill the queen so they can break free and continue the mission. In actual fact, with eusocial insects (termites, ants, bees), the queen is just the mother of the colony. She doesn't actively control every aspect of the other bugs' lives in this way.

    Live Action TV 
  • Of all shows for this to have happened on, Kratts' Creatures screwed it up by showing the view through the critter-cam goggles as a bunch of tiny pictures of the subject when set to "dragonfly". The current thinking is that the images are combined into a blurry composite image.
  • In an early episode of CSI, Catherine is crawling under a collapsed building and comes across a large (at least an inch and a half or so) cockroach crawling on a fallen beam. Fast forward to later in the episode where the insect is supposedly identified as a powderpost beetle.. Cockroaches and beetles are in entirely different orders and the cockroach shown on the screen was at least 10 times the size of a powderpost beetle (which is about 1/8 of an inch and much thinner). Using mammals, this would be similar to saying that a lion and a rat are comparable.
    • This is really a bad case of the writers not doing their research, since though entomologists don't always know every single species outside of the family they specialize in, an entomologist like Grissom would have at least likely known enough to tell those two apart. Alternately, as roaches are much easier for a production crew to obtain than powderpost beetles, it's probably just Terrifying Pet Store Rat at work.
    • One episode had a victim who was killed with Brazilian wandering spider venom and a suspect who owned a Brazilian wandering spider. The "Brazilian wandering spider" that was shown was a small black tarantula, while the real thing is gray and larger than some people's hands. Then again, the real thing is also deadly venomous and quite aggressive, so using a stand-in spider makes sense, since most people wouldn't tell the difference anyway.
  • A suspect in Castle's season 2 finale claimed he spent several weeks in Afghanistan with fire ants crawling on his privates. Fire ants are native to the Americas, not Afghanistan. Possibly a subversion, however, as the guy was only pretending to be a spy, and probably wasn't an entomologist.
    • Could also be Translation Convention, as ants that sting are fairly common worldwide, and "fire ant" would be a plausible English rendering of a local Afghani variety's name.
  • The Big Bang Theory gave a rather interesting example, in that Entomologists would be crying over an Entomologist crying. Unlike how most scientists are usually portrayed with a sliver of respect, the resident Entomologist is depicted as a grouch whose job is so unimportant that he's being evicted. (Read: the entomologist is Lewis Black being Lewis Black.) In addition, the "dung beetle" he shows is a Hissing Cockroach and he has a number of Pinktoe Tarantulas in an embarrassingly improper setup.
    • Also, the only living specimens he has in his office are arachnids and millipedes, which are not insects. Not the harshest transgression, but it wouldn't have been that big a stretch to call him an "arthropodologist" instead.
  • In The X-Files episode "Brand X", the Monster of the Week is a mutant species of tobacco beetle (they even call it by its proper scientific name, Lasioderma serricorne), but the show used the much larger (and easier to get large numbers of) mealworm beetle.note 

  • In Alice Cooper's The Black Widow, which extols all the terrible evil majestic qualities of the spider note , the deadly, pitiless and evil monarch who devours its mate immediately after sex - is described as "he" and "unholiest of kings".
    The evil of his sting
    The horror that he brings,
    Unholiest of kings -

     Professional Wrestling 
  • In Ring of Honor, The Briscoes nicknamed CHIKARA's UltraMantis Black, who started his career as UltraMantis with the Red Baron "Part Insect, Part Superhero" and whose name and original image were influenced by the Japanese TV series UltraMan, "Black Pelican," suggesting they are unable to tell the difference between an insect-themed mask and a bird-themed one.

    Tabletop Games 
  • An aversion occurs in Rifts. The Coalition States, as part of its doctrine of making all of its war machine look scary, employs a number of Spider Tanks called Spider-Skull Walkers (the first generation looked like a human skull with spider legs sprouting from where the spine would be). There are currently three different varieties of Spider-Skull walker, and all three have six legs. A Running Gag for them is an editor's note appearing right after said description which states "Yes, we know spiders have eight legs." One type is built to look like a scorpion, and it has six legs, plus the pincers, suggesting that the designers were aware that a scorpion's pincers aren't really limbs (as mentioned above, in General).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! shows Traptrix Atrax's pet/true form (it's somewhat ambiguous which it is) as a giant spider using a standard orb weaver web... except that she's named for a genus of the Australian Funnel-Web Spider, a trapdoor spider that doesn't use a trapdoor on its burrow, instead favoring a system of triplines around its hole. It's not a translation issue, either, as its Japanese name is "Atra no Kowakuma", referring to either the same genus or the larger Atracinae subfamily it belongs to.

  • Skansen Beanie Kids (not to be confused with Beanie Babies) released a Beanie Kid called Sting the Mosquito Bear. Aside from the fact that Sting looks absolutely nothing like a mosquito and more like an acid trip fairy, mosquitoes don't sting, they bite and suck blood (though a case can be made that 'Bite the Mosquito Bear' sounds more like an instruction than a name, and 'Suck the Mosquito Bear' just sounds wrong).

    Video Games 
  • Fallout: The series features various insects and arachnids growing to sizes that would not be physically possible, regardless of their amount of radiation exposure, along with gaining magnificent superpowers, such as being able to breathe fire. Fallout is supposed to be a parody fueled by radiation.
    • The fire ants are an accidental mutation via meddling by Mad Scientist. It is explained away with the venom glands producing flammable venom that is spark-ignited by the ant clicking its mandibles together. Since when do biological exoskeletons produce sparks by friction? Even more amusing, the Mad Scientist calls the process pyrosis—that is to say, the medical term for heartburn.
    • This is lampshaded early on in the first game, when a character notes that the giant scorpions should have their venom greatly diluted, but he is puzzled as to why it seems to remain just as potent.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has Giant Spiders and all the woes that this implies. This can rather easily be justified by the meddling of wizards and daedric princes, of course.
  • In Guild Wars 2, the Canyon Spiders aren't actually spiders at all. They're far larger than any invertebrate could actually be, but that can be forgiven by the Rule of Cool. What they are, though, is rather faithfully modeled giant solifugids. Couldn't they at least call them "Canyon Sunspiders"?
  • In Pokémon, out of at least two dozen arthropod-based Pokémon (as of Generation V), exactly two even have the right number of limbs (ladybug-based Ledyba and Ledian have six, the caterpillar-based ones vary, the rest of the insects have four, and arachnid-based ones have six). But then, real arthropods don't generally grow to human size, either (Scyther), nor can they shoot their stingers at you (Beedrill). Nor do their shed shells come to life (Shedinja).
    • Not only this but we have many arthropods that fall as Bug-type. We have spiders, scorpions, centipedes, hermit crabs, trilobites and even some kind of rock mollusk. Strangely, the Dwebble line (based on hermit crabs) are Bug-type but the Krabby line (based on sand bubbler crabs) aren't.
  • Warcraft III has spiders bigger than horses who release their young, two smaller (man-sized) spiders on death. And then there's the Nerubians, a race of six-limbed spider men, and their mutated beetle-like kin the Crypt Lords (who can summon four legged beetles with mandibles bigger than a human arm). Aaargh.
  • In Castlevania: Mirror of Fate, the Lady of the Crypt is a gigantic insect-dragon... thing that is killed by Trevor, who tricks it into smashing open the castle gates. In Simon/Alucard's storylines (chronologically after Trevor's), the gates are still jammed open by the massive insect's skeleton. Insect's... skeleton? Looks like the Lady was more dragon than insect after all.
  • Watch_Dogs has a diversion/activity taking place in a fantastic-drug fueled alternate reality where you control a Spider Tank. The thing actually looked like a rather convincing spider, except with the glaring flaw of having only six legs...
  • Minecraft Java Edition 1.15 introduces bees to the game. Unlike real world bees, in which only a queen bee can produce offspring, any two bees can be bred with flowers. Additionally, there is no larva stage; like other Minecraft mobs, baby bees are simply smaller versions of the adults.


    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold has Batman trapped in a tank with giant Atlas moths which have mandibles... and are trying to attack/eat him. In actuality, Atlas moths not only do not have mandibles, they have no mouths. At all. Because when they are in the moth stage they don't feed. They survive off the fat reserves they built up as caterpillars and die when it runs out.
    • And no adult moth eats fabric. They lay their eggs in closets (or did, before the invention of mothballs), and the larval moths chewed on the fabric.
  • In the "Turner Classic Birdman" episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, a Reducto-shrunk Birdman contends with "a spider... with only six legs!" When he gets a call from Falcon 7 that Vulturo has stolen a hydrogen bomb and feebly insists he has to deal with this emergency first, Falcon 7 isn't sympathetic. "Let's see, hydrogen bomb... gimp spider. Hydrogen bomb or gimp spider, ooooooh...."
  • The Secret Saturdays: Munya is supposed to transform into a spider/human hybrid, but looks much more like a red Incredible Hulk with fangs, claws and four tiny legs poking out of his back.
    • Fridge Brilliance, when one acknowledges the arguments often used against the existence of giant spiders. He wouldn't be able to function if he had a more spiderlike frame, so his design instead focuses on the spider's main strengths.
  • One scene from Disney's The Mad Doctor involves Mickey Mouse running into a skeletal spider. In real life, spiders, like all arthropods, have exoskeletons, and therefore do not have bones. Then again, the whole thing was a dream.
  • The second episode of Dink, the Little Dinosaur had a fully-grown insect hatch out of a clearly-reptilian egg.
  • Averted in the bees episode of The Magic School Bus: the hive is shown correctly. The show being what it is, they would've had no excuse for getting it wrong.
  • An episode of Brandy & Mr. Whiskers had army ants that live in anthills and eat sugar. Army ants are known for not forming permanent nests like other ants and instead continuously roam in swarms, not to mention they are carnivorous.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show averts this by having Double D identify fireflies as nocturnal luminescent beetles.
  • Bob's Burgers: In the episode "Bed & Breakfast", a supposed entomologist attempts to entice his beetles to breed by using pheromones supposedly produced by the "queen" beetle to attract males. There are no known beetle species that live in eusocial colonies with "queens".
  • One episode The Angry Beavers refers to daddy longlegs as bugs or insects. In the USA, daddy longlegs are arachnids. (Note that in the UK, however, daddy longlegs is a nickname for the Cranefly. The arachnid called daddy longlegs in the US is known as a Harvestman in the UK)

  • Lampshaded and discussed annually at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana's Insect Fear Film Festival, at which the Entomology Graduate Student Association displays movies with examples of this trope, then lets viewers handle living examples of the featured arthropods, while explaining what the films got wrong.


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